Combined program students opting for the Research Essay or Thesis path to graduation must complete either a Research Essay or Thesis in partial fulfillment of the Master of Arts degree requirements. Professors at NPSIA and the University of Ottawa supervise research Essays and Theses. NPSIA, in association with the Law School, ensures that students are assigned faculty supervision from both institutions.
Receiving uOttawa Unit for the Research Essay/Thesis
All students in the program with a Law School co-supervisor are entitled to receive 6 University of Ottawa units for their Research Essay or Thesis, in addition to the Carleton credit received for this project. These uOttawa units are recorded as a special Law School “Directed Research”. Students wishing to take advantage of this credit “double counting” must enroll in Directed Research CML 4203 during two terms of the year during which the Research Essay will be completed. To receive unit for CML 4203, there is no requirement that the Research Essay or Thesis have been actually defended at NPSIA. Note, however, to receive any of these units, the uOttawa co-supervisor must certify that the Research Essay or Thesis is at least suitable for defence. No units are awarded for works in progress that fall short of this standard.
Research Essays do not satisfy the separate JD requirement that students complete at least one “major paper” in the course of their law school studies. In most instances, students complete this “major paper” in a law seminar class in which evaluation is conducted by paper.
Timing of Research Essay or Thesis
The Timing of the Research Essay/Thesis in Relation to Law Studies
Because students may receive uOttawa unit for this Research Essay or Thesis, they may reduce their classroom course load relative to regular law students during the uOttawa portions of the program. Accordingly, students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this situation and begin preparing for their Research Essays or Theses during Year 2 and to complete their project by the end of Year 3. An ideal scenario for Year 3 would be for a student to make significant progress on their project in the summer of Year 2, enroll in the CML 4203 in January term and Winter term of Year 3, and register in defend their Research Essay or Thesis at Carleton (see below) early on in the summer of Year 3. Students who prolong or delay their Research Essays or Theses to Year 4 sometimes experience difficulties in completing their project before Law School graduation date. Further, those who begin projects in Year 2 often find their material out-dated by Year 4, a development that may necessitate substantial revisions.
However, in deciding when to enroll or CML 4203, students are cautioned about enrolling in CML 4203 in Year 3 and then failing to complete the Research Essay or Thesis in that year. Since unit is assigned from CML 4203 until the Research Essay or Thesis is certified ready for defence, a failure to complete the Research Essay in Year 3 will mean that the student has insufficient uOttawa units to be promoted to a third year law school student in Year 4 of the program.
The Timing of the Research Essay/Thesis in Relation to the NPSIA Requirements
NPSIA rules require students who opt for the Research Essay (or Thesis) to enroll in the applicable Carleton Research Essay/Thesis course (i.e., INAF 5906/5919) for the academic period in which they will defend their paper, in order to be eligible to defend their NPSIA Research Essay, receive unit, and complete the MA program.
Generally, students should enroll in the applicable Research Essay/Thesis course in the summer of Year 3. This registration permits the student to defend their project by the first week of May in Year 4.
Students who fail to defend the research essay by that date must enroll in the applicable Research Essay/Thesis course code at Carleton in the summer of Year 4 and maintain this registration for every academic semester until they successfully defend their paper.
Note that it is not permissible for a student to receive unit at NPSIA for their research essay or thesis without enrolling in that option for at least one summer term, and paying the registration fees.
Completion of Research Essay or Thesis
Full completion of the Research Essay or Thesis is a requirement for receiving the Master of Arts degree (International Affairs) for all students who do not opt for the course-work option. Students who fail to fulfill this requirement by Law School graduation may still receive their JD, assuming they have fulfilled all JD degree requirements. However, students who do not have a Research Essay or Thesis that their uOttawa supervisor is prepared to certify is ready for defence by the end of Year 4 will be ineligible to receive law school unit through Directed Research CML 4203. Students who fail to receive these units by the end of Year 4 may, therefore, find themselves up to 6 uOttawa JD units short of degree requirements, depending on how many other law courses they have taken.
As noted, students who have completed the JD portion of the program, but not the M.A., will be required to enroll in their Research Essay or Thesis at Carleton each term until it is completed.